The modern orthodox world in Israel has been unforgiving towards any young man who is grappling with being gay. The rabbis at the yeshivot have pushed these students to marry anyway, because, according to them, the most important thing in life is to have a family and children. But these marriages are a recipe for failure. A new documentary film, Marry Me However, directed by Mordechai Vardi, explores this community’s attitude towards this issue.
Yarden Naor divorced his wife when he realized that he wasn’t going to change. Zvi Ben Meir admits that he knew he wasn’t attracted to his wife, but he married her anyway. Some of the yeshiva boys admit to having undergone conversion therapy, so that they could live a “normal” life. These marriages didn’t take the woman and her needs into the equation. In fact, she was sacrificed on the altar of what the rabbis in this community thought would be the right thing to do!
In interviews with some rabbis, we see that they are being pushed to stand up and say that homosexual young men should no longer be encouraged to get married to a woman. Some well-known rabbis in the film, including Rabbi Ronen Lubitsch and Rabbi Yuval Sherlow, show great understanding in this area. Rabbi Sherlow admits that today he would never push a gay young man or a lesbian woman towards a normative marriage, as he used to in the past. He realizes that being gay or lesbian is not a mental disorder, but rather part of a person’s identity and they are not about to change or deny that identity. We must accept people for who they are, he says.
The film includes varied religious points of view, and not all of them offer solutions within the religious context. Although the film is a standard documentary with too many talking heads, the viewer is provided with a greater understanding of the issues as they were experienced by the young men and women in the film.
Marry Me However is a documentary film, produced for HOT channel 8.